During 2 rainy days, 23rd and 24th of November 2019, 18 Romanian volunteers gathered in Bucharest to learn about Education. For us, education means international environment, mobility opportunities, the past, present and future of Erasmus+ programme and how we can leave our mark and make a change in young people’s lives.

Thinking about Education Training, there was this quote that kept popping into my mind. A long time ago, Aristotle said that ”Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” This is exactly what we did during those days: we educated our minds, learned a lot and tried a different approach to our daily activity in the middle of amazing people who warmed our hearts.

Dora David - organiser; Education Officer ESN Romania, co-founder garagErasmus4Bucharest

The training was a mix of workshops, presentations and discussions, all building around the same core topic, the international dimension of higher education and our role in this field. From understanding the facts to learning how to implement this knowledge, we had two full days. Luckily, we didn’t feel the rain and cold, thanks to the beautiful Lucrativ house that hosted us and it felt like home.

As an ESN alumna, I have the drive to motivate people to learn more and to equip them with suitable skills for the real world out there. I knew since I accepted the invitation to join the event as a trainer that it is going to be a weekend to remember. But I cannot really put into words how it felt to have the opportunity to work alongside a dear friend, Dora, as organizer and facilitator, and smart curious volunteers as participants. Everything lasted only two days, but it was enough to bring back sweet memories from my #ESNlife. I hope everyone will get the chance, at some point during their volunteering years, to attend a training focused on education and personal growth.

Miruna Iliescu - trainer, co-founder garagErasmus4Bucharest

We started the first day with a simple and short introduction: EU and Erasmus+ as an EU programme. Naturally, the next topic on the agenda had to be introduced by an expert. Nicoleta Popa, our guest representing the National Agency in Romania guided us through the land of Erasmus+ mobility opportunities for students and far beyond.

The day continued with the presentations of some of our closest stakeholders, IRO representatives of three Universities from Bucharest. Izabela Ungureanu (Titu Maiorescu University), Andreea Militaru (University Politehnica of Bucharest) and Cosmina Anghel (National University of Arts in Bucharest) also joined us during an open discussion about the collaboration ESN has with Higher Education Institutions.

Because, as ESN volunteers, one of our main characteristics is our love for the international environment, we also invited Raluca Solea (DAAD Romania) to tell us more about several other mobility opportunities.

At the end of the first day, we already started to focus on our soft skills and we kept doing that during the second day as well. Miruna Iliescu, our guest trainer from garagErasmus4Bucharest, told us the secrets of Communication and, later on, showed us the wonders of External Representation & Advocacy, while Dora David (ESN Romania and garagErasmus4Bucharest) tried to take us out of our comfort zone, facilitating a workshop on Public Speaking.

The second day of the training also brought us back to our organisation and Alex Pieptea (ESN Romania) started the discussion about the Causes of ESN and its advocacy efforts. We ended the day learning about how to approach our stakeholders and, finally, how all the knowledge gained can be used.

The Education Training was an amazing opportunity for all the participants to learn more about some of the Causes of ESN and to strengthen the relationship between ESN, IROs and the National Agency. For a first-time edition, it was a complete success, gathering participants from eight Romanian ESN sections. Participants were actively engaged throughout the event and most of them followed up, being involved in education-related activities in their local sections and even at the national level. Considering the feedback, I know the second edition will surpass this one, not only in participants’ numbers but also topics covered.

Alex Pieptea - trainer; President ESN Romania 

With sugar, spice and everything nice, we left home with dreams, ideas, motivation and maybe some new questions.